Palestinian prisoners’ minister Issa Qaraqaa on Tuesday warned there would be a major backlash if any of the detainees on a mass hunger inside Israeli jails were to die.
“We will not accept that our prisoners return in coffins from the occupation’s prisons,” Qaraqaa told a 3,000-strong crowd demonstrating in solidarity with the prisoners in the West Bank city of Nablus.
“If anything happens to any prisoner, the reaction will not remain inside prison walls but will extend to the outside,” he said.
Around a third of the 4,700 Palestinian prisoners being held in Israeli jails are currently on an open-ended hunger strike, according to the Israel Prisons Service, which puts the number at 1,450.
Most have been refusing food for around two weeks, but eight of them are at an advanced stage of their hunger strike and two - Bilal Diab and Thaer Halahla - have gone 63 days without eating.
A doctor working with Physicians for Human Rights who examined them on Monday found that they were in danger of dying and were not receiving adequate medical care where they are being held in the Ramle prison infirmary near Tel Aviv.
“I appeal from Nablus to all human rights organizations in the world to act urgently to save the lives of Bilal Diab and Thaer Halahla who are in danger of dying,” Qaraqaa said.
“I hold Netanyahu’s government responsible for everything that is happening to the prisoners,” he said.